View of Tribunal on Acquitted Innocents
The report of the jury that heard the first People’s Tribunal on Acquitted Innocents took strong exception to “news coverage which destroys a person’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt, without any verdict in the court of law”.
Details of the report
1. The jury, which was chaired by Justice A.P. Shah, released its report — Towards a Framework for Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Wrongful Prosecution/Conviction .
2. The People’s Tribunal, which gathered testimonies of several acquitted innocents, and the report of the jury, had been organised by The Innocence Network, an all-India collective that works for the rights of the wrongfully prosecuted or convicted.
3. Drawing on the principles of public law, the report called upon the government to “grant compensation to the exonerees for the loss and harm caused to them and for violating their right to life and liberty” under Article 21 of the Constitution.
4. Releasing the report, Justice Shah said that when a person dies in the custody of the State, the burden to prove their innocence should be on the custodians. “Torture has become a routine and endemic practice in investigative procedure in India,” he said.
5. The Prevention of Torture Bill has been languishing in Parliament for more than four years, and no government seems interested in passing it despite India being a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture.
6. The rampant discourse on ‘war on terror’ legitimates the arrests of Muslim youth and grants impunity to investigators.